Match Preview


HSV have work cut out against in-form bogey team Heidenheim

The final fixture before the international break sees 1. FC Heidenheim travel to the Volksparkstadion on Saturday lunchtime (kick-off 1:00pm CET).

The appearance of Frank Schmidt and 1. FC Heidenheim doesn’t hold many fond memories for Hamburger SV in recent times. The team from Heidenheim an der Brenz were able to win both encounters with the Rothosen last season, most famously coming back from 1-0 down on Matchday 33 to win in the last minute of added time, leapfrogging their guests into third position, a place they wouldn’t relinquish on the final matchday. The meeting between the two sides in November at the Voith-Arena was no more productive than their previous visit for Hamburg, throwing away a 2-0 lead to once again lose in the closing stages. Add to that a team right in form, having taken 13 points from a possible 15 in their last five games, and the Rothosen will have to be on top of their game on Saturday afternoon to enter the international break with another positive result.

Focus on the visitors

The story is by now well-known; in his first managerial role, 47-year-old Frank Schmidt has taken Heidenheim all the way from the fifth tier (Oberliga Baden-Württemberg) to the second division, missing out on a trip to the Bundesliga in his fourteenth season in charge by virtue of away goals against Werder Bremen in the relegation play-off last July. With key players Niklas Dorsch and Tim Kleindienst both departing for KAA Gent in the summer alongside a number of other important cogs in the FCH machine moving away from the Voith-Arena, a season of mediocrity and rebuilding was expected in the heart of Baden-Württemberg. With 19 matches played just after the halfway point of the season it looked as if this prediction would pan out, Heidenheim in 10th position and struggling to string results together. Wins against Aue, Osnabrück, Düsseldorf and Würzburg followed as well as a draw against Paderborn, meaning the Red and Whites are seventh heading into Saturday’s game on 39 points with a game in hand, four clear of 8th and with a chance to slide into fifth with a win and results going their way on Matchday 26.

Opposition scouting report

The Brenzstädter’s push up the table has been spurred on by the return of Kleindienst, coming back on loan from Gent in January, and scoring seven in five appearances to race into position as Heidenheim’s second-top scorer in a matter of games. Frank Schmidt has a number of weapons at his disposal, Kleindienst joining Christian Kühlwetter in attack, who has been one of the breakout stars of the 2. Liga campaign, with 13 goals and four assists in 24 appearances, in his first full season after joining from Kaiserslautern last summer. The 47-year-old has also been tactically flexible over the past few games, this unpredictability contributing to their success, the last three games seeing a 4-3-1-2, and 4-2-3-1 and 3-4-1-2 formation, making the scouting report even more difficult for the HSV backroom staff. HSV can take heart from the fact that FCH’s upturn in form has seen them score more but also concede more, unusual for a Schmidt team, and they are much more vulnerable away from the Voith-Arena, first in the league for points earnt at home but 12th for points accrued on their travels.

Options open in midfield for HSV as Leibold returns

A turbulent week at the Volkspark draws to a close with a crucial encounter, before the majority of the squad and coaching staff can draw for breath, only Klaus Gjasula (Albania), Amadou Onana (Belgian under-21s) and Stephan Ambrosius and Josha Vagnoman (German under-21s) leaving Hamburg during the international break. Simon Terodde will be missing during to his positive coronavirus diagnosis on Monday and is now well into his enforced two-week quarantine. Toni Leistner (thigh) and David Kinsombi (muscular problems) will definitely be missing, whilst Jeremy Dudziak’s involvement is uncertain after dislocating his shoulder during Tuesday’s training session. With Kinsombi and possibly Dudziak both missing out, Daniel Thioune has two sizeable holes to fill in the centre of midfield, Onana showing his worth with a man-of-the-match display at the Vonovia Ruhrstadion. There is good news for the 46-year-old though, as Tim Leibold’s two-game suspension draws to a close and the captain can return to the fold at left-back. The Rothosen’s vital 2-0 win at Bochum last time out saw them jump back into second position on 46 points, tied on points with Greuther Fürth and Holstein Kiel (who have a game in hand and also won’t play this weekend due to a two-week quarantine for the whole squad).

Matchday facts

Heidenheim have scored at least two goals in each of their last six games, a new club record in the 2. Bundesliga.

This match-up has produced goals in the second division. During 450 minutes of football, 18 goals have been scored, or one every 25 minutes.

Heidenheim hasn’t lost a game on Saturday this season (5 wins, 3 draws).

Where can I watch the game?

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